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‘Recursion’ refers to cards or strategies that return cards from the graveyard to a player’s hand, or allow players to re-use cards from their graveyards. This is distinct from Reanimator strategies that usually put cards (specifically creatures) back onto the battlefield directly, usually for little or no mana.

Recursion effects may appear in any color combination, though they are often common in Aristocrats, Reanimator, Artifacts, Landfall, and Spellslinger archetypes.

Types of Recursion

Recursion may appear in any color and may apply to any card type. Many popular strategies make use of recursion effects to recover from enemy removal effects or accrue additional card advantage.

Creature Recursion

Creature recursion is distinct from creature reanimation, in which a creature is brought from the graveyard directly onto the battlefield for a low mana investment. Cards that allow a player to return a creature to their hand, or to cast that creature from the graveyard by paying its full mana cost, may be counted as recursive creature effects. These effects are most common in black.

Spell Recursion

Spellslinger decks make consistent use of cards that return instant and sorcery cards to their hands from the graveyard, as well as cards that allow them to cast those spells from the graveyard. These effects are most commonly found in blue and red.

Artifact Recursion

Artifact recursion may either return artifacts to a player’s hand or to the battlefield, though they often require other artifacts to enter the graveyard in exchange. These effects are most common in the color red, or on other artifact cards.

Enchantment Recursion

Enchantress decks may utilize effects that return enchantments from the graveyard to the hand or to the battlefield. These effects are most common in the color white.

Land Recursion

Land recursion effects are most common in Landfall decks for their ability to allow their controller to play land cards from the graveyard instead of their hand. This also includes cards that return lands to the graveyard en masse. These effects are most common in green.

Versatile Recursion

Some effects may allow their controllers to return cards of any type to their hand, or to cast spells of any type from their graveyard. These effects are mostly found in Green.